"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sluggerlogs, Obituaries, and Long Beach Island

Unique title, yes? Betch' ya never heard of that one before, huh?

Anyway, they have nothing to do with each other. As I said this morning, they are just a collection of tidbits from the past week that I have collected to share with you.


Does anyone know what this has anything to do with anything? I don't.

When I babysit the little four year old, I can usually understand *mostly* everything he says. I have a hard time understanding diction when like...normal people talk, and its even harder to not only understand what a young child is saying, but to then understand what he means by what he's saying. But I've gotten a LOT better at it. Last year at this time, If i didn't understand what either of them wanted, I would just give up and let them cry until they gave up or I figured it out. But now I can get it by watching their mannerisms too, the context of the situation and listening for diction better. And, they are getting older and easier to understand. The other day we were playing with his train set and he kept asking me to "click on the train over there to make it go choo choo" and I was like....why does he keep going back to the "clicking"?  Then I realized that the father bought him a Thomas the Tank Engine computer game, and it all made sense. So working with kids, half of the game is just going with the flow. I think thats an important lesson for nursing, too, doncha think?

Anyway, today I came across something that I was just like....what?

He is getting into the stage where when he is pissed at me, which happens often, he fancies screaming, "SLUGGERLOG!!!!" or sometimes he mixes it up with "SLUGGERHORN!"  Does any one that works with kids and kids products know what this is? Or if you say it outloud, does it sound like something else he might be saying?

It's probably from a TV show he's seen, or a movie....or something he picked up from a game or something. I will NEVER underestimate the power of TV on a child's brain. For the better but mostly for the worse.

So, here's my ethical dilemma. He is using the word as a demeaning sentence to me. If he were an adult equally pissed off, he would substitute SLuggerlog with something we consider to be a "curse" word. But he doesn't know any curse words. Yet. But he is using it as one, just without realizing it. Sometimes he would call me specifically a sluggerlog, and sometimes he would just shout it out in frustration. So can you punish a child for saying that, even if 1) you don't know what it actually means, and 2) its not really a bad word, just a....confusing word? 

Can you punish a child for calling you a "Happy Easter Bunny" if he meant it in a screaming and horrible bad way? Where do you draw the line?

Sluggerlog, will lead to the next word which will lead to the actual curse words soon. If they encourage the behavior of calling out any word in a moment of frustration, or to someone now, its like saying that is acceptable to do even when those words are defined as a curse word.  But is it OK?  I can't exactly tell him, "Don't say that, its not nice." Because.....I don't even know what it means, but I just get the general gist its not meant to be nice, in his mind, especially observing his tone of voice, facial expression and facial redness.

On to a newwww topic: Obituaries.

Ever re-visit a hobby or collection, or something you just used to do in the past, and realize that you were kind of insane?   I did yesterday.   I'm having relatives over in a couple weeks, and they will probably be sleeping over in my room. So I've been trying to clean it up a little, take out the junk, make it look like a 23 year old lives inside, not a 12 year old. 

Well, back when I was working Full Time as an aide, I was obviously seeing a LOT of patients, and I used to be obsessed with learning names. I was also obsessed with reading obituaries. If I had a patient and they died  long after after I had them, I would still remember them. I then felt compelled to cut out every obituary I knew the person for, and then proceed to write a little bit about the person that I could contribute on the back, and hang it on my wall as a memory. Everyone said I was crazy. And creepy. But I didn't see it. I just saw it as remembering old friends, old patients that I shared a part of my life with. People I shared last moments of life with. People that shared their life story with me. I just saw it as honoring them and remembering them when I looked at my wall.  Keep in mind that the obits were NOT the only thing on my wall! I have a huge wall full of literature that I wrote, memories, pictures I took, quotes, comics, etc.  SO the obits just sort of found places.  But people still thought I was crazy. But I kept doing it. Well, I must have saved and clipped at least 100 over the years. And kept them all. But they weren't all up on the wall. It got to be so many that I came to my senses mid-way and took down most. I kept up the ones that either I knew *personally* beyond the patient-nurse level, or were just patients that were extra-memorable. 

But I couldnt even manage to throw the rest out. I got a special folder and put them all in and filed it away. I felt like throwing them out was disrespect. That because at one time I took the time to remember and honor them and now I was just throwing them out? I couldn't get past it. I couldn't get past the sad concept that someones entire life....sometimes 100 years of life, was all wrapped up in a single column, and who ever even looked at it?

I always wanted to know more about my patients. Being a writer at heart, I always want to know your back-story. Why are you here, what are you thinking, whats your story?  So when I read the obits, I just want to know more about the lifestyle they led, the people they were before I met them as a patient. I just found it fascinating.

Well, being off at school, and not working FT anymore, I lost interest in clipping or even looking for them. Occasionally I would have a death on the floor and then look for the obit and then just read it, but not clip it, sometimes I would just occasionally read through the obits one random day and scan it for names I knew...But I grew out of the odd clipping/hanging them on wall "hobby".

So now, a couple years later in time, when I'm cleaning up my room, I stare at my entire wall. I think, "Should I take this down?" But I couldnt take the wall down. But I could take the obits down.

I thought it would be hard. But when I went up to them to re-read them, I couldn't even remember them as patients. The whole point was to remember them and hold on to them, and I forgot them anyway. I guess with the amount of patients I have seen, its easy to do. But still sad. So I'm looking at all these names, and thinking, they mean nothing to me on this wall now. So I took them all down and threw them out. It was sad, but not as meaningful as I thought it would be.

But looking back now, everyone was right. It was really creepy. And odd. I meant well. In my brain it made perfect sense. In reality, not so much.  So they are all gone now.

Do I have room for a third topic? Maybeeee. I'll make it quick.

I had a dream last night that I was in LBI (Jersey shore). We go here as an annual vacation and I look forward to it drastically every year. Its my favorite part of summer. As Ive mentioned before, I cannot stand the ocean, but I can't get enough of the beach. I love the beach, the sand, the smells, the shore type towns, the mini golfing....I love it all. But in my dream though, It happened to be a rainy and depressing week that we got to go. In my dream, I was sitting outside on some sort of fence, In a sweatshirt. I think I was reading a book? I remember looking down the boardwalk, and thinking:
" I can't believe its supposed to rain this whole week we're here. I can't believe our week is almost over and all I've done is sit here in the rain. Where did the time go? I need to get up. I need to live, I need to get out of the rain." So I finished the dream by running, running a long time in the sand on the beach. It felt so good.

Point is, that last thought in the dream is a huge metaphor for how my last entire week has been.

I wouldn't even know how to start explaining it all, if I tried and could. All I can say is that hopefully it will get better soon.I'm making a couple moves in the right direction to make things better. Health-wise, emotion wise, relationship-wise (with everyone), and so forth.  It will all be OK. I'm sure of that. I just need change, I think. I need something life-changing. I need to do something different. Get out of this routine I'm stuck mindlessly in.....

Thanks for reading everyone. I'll blog soon...:-)  

~ A Writer in a Nurse's Body

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Snaz I never knew you did that with obituaries! Sometimes it's good to let go, though. Let me know if there's anyway I can help you get through all the change in your life coming up!